Orange Syrup Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream

Candied Orange Slices via Use Real Butter

1 orange, washed
Water for boiling
Ice water
2 (397 g) cups sugar
1 (237 ml) cup water

Cut the orange into very thin slices, being careful not to cut them so thin that they fall apart. Remove any seeds and toss the ends. Bring water to a boil in a saucepan and blanch the orange slices for about one minute. Drain and plunge slices into a bath of ice water. Drain again.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar and 1 cup of water in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved without stirring, which may cause crystals to form. If the pan is not heating evenly, simply swirl the pan. Bring to a simmer and add the orange slices. Simmer - don’t boil - for an hour and a half. Carefully remove slices from hot sugar syrup and set on a cooling rack over a baking sheet until completely dry, up to 24 hours. Reserve the syrup for brushing onto the cake layers.

Vanilla Sponge adapted from Sky High

1 1/2 c (298 g) sugar, divided
1 orange, zest of
2 c (278 g) cake flour*
2 tsp baking powder
8 eggs, separated
1 Tbsp lemon juice
6 Tbsp vegetable Oil
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350F. Oil and line three 9" round cake pans, then set aside.

Put 1/2 cup (99 g) sugar in a small bowl with the orange zest and rub between your fingers until the sugar is very fragrant and looks like wet sand. Whisk in the cake flour and baking powder then set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the yolks, lemon juice, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium-high until slightly lightened, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Pour the egg whites into a very clean large bowl. Begin beating on medium-low until foamy, then turn the speed up to high and gradually add the remaining 1 cup (198 g) of sugar. Beat until moderately stiff peaks form (when lifting the beater from the bowl, the peaks should droop slightly), being very careful not to whip the whites until they are dry.

After the whites have been whipped, use a rubber spatula to gently fold 1/4 of them into the yolk mixture. Add another 1/4 of the whites and fold to combine. Repeat until all of the whites have been incorporated, then sift in 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Fold gently until few streaks remain, then add another third. Repeat, continuing to fold very gently, until the last addition of dry ingredients has been fully incorporated.

Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 15-20 minutes until the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from their pans and wrap them in plastic wrap then refrigerate them for at least 4 hours until they are completely cooled.

*If you don't have cake flour, combine 1 3/4 c (248 g) flour and 1/4 c (30 g) cornstarch to substitute.

White Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Please click here for a step-by-step guide to making Swiss Meringue Buttercream and troubleshooting tips!

10 egg whites
2 c (400 g) sugar
2 c (452 g) butter, room temp
4 oz white chocolate, melted and cooled

Cook the egg whites and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved (test by rubbing some between your fingers. If it's completely smooth, it's done). Pour into another bowl (a stand mixer is preferable) and whip on high speed until room temp. Then, on a medium-slow speed, add the butter, waiting until each piece is completely incorporated before adding the next. After all the butter has been added, turn the mixer back to high speed and whip until it has come together, about five minutes. Add the extract, beat briefly and then use.

If the buttercream seems soupy after all of the butter is added and does not come together after whipping, refrigerate for 5 to 7 minutes and continue whipping until it becomes fluffy and workable.

Assembly

Cut the domes, if any, off the tops of the cakes.

Place a layer of cake on your serving platter. Brush cake with orange syrup, then top with a layer of buttercream. Add another layer of cake, brush with orange syrup and spread evenly with frosting. Place remaining cake on top and crumb coat with a small amount of buttercream. Frost and decorate as desired, using candied orange as a garnish.
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